Author: Michel Lee

Is a Darby Township battle for top cop a family feud?

Was the Darby Township deputy police chief position, held now by Brian Patterson, created out of nepotism? At last Wednesday’s township commissioners meeting, Sheila A. Carter, president of Darby Township Fire Company No. 4 and president of Darby’s NAACP, charged that it was and for her own personal reasons wants the issue of police appointments revisited. With 11 candidates now vying for the open position of chief of police, a new battle appears emerging between the camps of two candidates – Patterson and Mack Carter. “It’s been said that this position was allegedly created to assist Mr. Brian Patterson and our (Board of Commissioners) President (Lawrence Patterson), the father of Mr. Patterson,” Sheila Carter said before the commissioners and the public. She argued that when the deputy chief job was created five years ago, no postings were made available inviting other candidates to apply from among the law enforcement or civilian communities. “There was no requirement (for it) to be posted,” said Michael P. Pierce, Esq., township solicitor. Carter then asked if any then-current Darby Township officers were offered the position to which Pierce responded he didn’t know. Was there a reason why the position wasn’t offered to other Darby Township cops? Carter pressed. Pierce said he couldn’t recall such a long time ago and suggested Carter request minutes from that meeting which records the creation of the position...

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Officials offer $10,000 for homicide information

For the first-time in many years, the City of Chester is offering a reward hoping to solve the city’s first 2016 homicide that occurred Friday night at W. 15TH St. and Shaw Terrace, an area not considered a high crime neighborhood. Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland announced on Monday at a press conference a $5,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of a suspect. The offer was “matched” by Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan, bringing the total to $10,000. “Although we realize you cannot put a price on a life, you can put a price on a criminal,” Kirkland said, flanked by Whelan and Chester Police Commissioner Darren Alston. “We believe people have information that could lead to making an arrest and successfully prosecuting,” Whelan said. “It’s time that the police, the district attorney’s office, the residents in the city of Chester work together to make our community safer….We cannot do it without you,” said Whelan. Police said the victim was a 42 year-old man found with a fatal gunshot wound to the head in his Toyota Camry that was still running. At the press conference, Kirkland said he and the victim had been friends for 10 years and the last time he spoke to the married father of 10 was on his way to church when the victim asked Kirkland to help him with his necktie. Although police...

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New Year, same trash

For some Chester residents, the New Year has left them with last year’s trash due to the city failing to have a waste collection contract in place. “I received a text reading that there will be no trash pick-up in the city,” Donna Davis, a longtime resident, said. The city posted an announcement on its website about trash collections during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays indicating “Regular pick-up schedule returns on Monday, 1/4/16.” An announcement titled “Early January 2016 Schedule Change” was also posted that listed a “temporary schedule” for trash pick-up in the first week of January. In short, collections were canceled for last week, but expected to resume Tuesday, Jan. 12th with recycling collections every Wednesday. Councilwoman Portia West, director of the Department of Streets and Highways, oversees waste collections, but was unavailable for comment. Her administrative assistant, Beverly Harris, said curtly, “Trash collection was taken care of…Look on the website for the schedule. It tells you all you need to know,” Harris later said she was unable to answer questions. Resident Jim Turner said collections were not made and that he had “five bags of trash” sitting outside, attracting animals searching for a meal which prompted him to complain personally. He also said during the week between Christmas and New Year’s there was “spotty pick-up.” “Residents are responsible for housing their own trash,” Joy Taylor,...

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Kirkland becomes mayor, remains state rep. also

In a rarely used political maneuver, Chester’s newly-inaugurated mayor, Thaddeus Kirkland, rescinded his early December resignation as a state representative and announced in a quiet New Year’s Eve press release that he will hold both elected positions, at least temporarily. Kirkland, who was inaugurated Monday as mayor, has been a Pennsylvania state representative of the 159th District for the last 24 years. In brief remarks after being sworn-in as mayor, Kirkland choked back tears in thanking residents, his family, members of his church congregation and fellow officials for supporting his election. On Dec. 8th, Kirkland announced his retirement on the House floor during a regular session that week but changed his mind just days before accepting the mayor’s mantle. “I will serve in two capacities: the mayor of Chester City and the state representative of the 159th Legislative District. Until there’s an ultimate resolution of the 2015-16 state budget, I want to be sure my constituents are represented and that they have a voice in the process,” Kirkland said to House leaders. “My constituent service offices will remain open during this time to provide state-related help to those I proudly represent.” The practice of holding two elected positions at once is known as “dual office-holding” and is prohibited in many states, but may be allowed under some circumstances. New Jersey banned dual office-holding in September 2007 but allowed 19...

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Yeadon NAACP hosts 20th Kwanzaa celebration

Kwanzaa started on Dec. 26th and was celebrated throughout the week, until Jan. 1st and the Yeadon Chapter NAACP, in partnership with the Yeadon Public Library, hosted its condensed, 20th annual celebration with a grand show featuring storytelling, recitation of the holiday’s principles with the lighting of the candles, music and performances and food. Guests filed into Yeadon Borough Hall’s auditorium and were greeted by a band playing traditional African drums. Robert E. Wright, Sr., first vice president of the NAACP, chairperson of its Education Committee, retired educator and board member of the William Penn School District, dressed in...

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